Josh Stevens-Hill Top ft. Spencer Ludwig

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This is the perfect tune for the weekend with a crazy good, upbeat vibe packed full of energy and love. You’ll be singing along in no time…

 

 

It is what we all want deep down inside, someone to love us no matter what, and of course it helps if they are shouting it from the hilltops, right?

I think so.

What strikes me about this song is the lyrics hint of infatuation, newness, and connectedness. But the idea behind Josh Steven’s new album, Story of Summer, is more of a roller coaster ride than staying in love euphoria. He has put together the songs that will describe a romance with a fictional character “Anna”.

“It’s a first person perspective to the rise and fall of a relationship. The setting of this love story takes place in the sunny beach city of  Los Angeles, California. It follows Josh through different stages of extreme euphoria to the darkest lows of meaningless one-night stands…”

I am intrigued by the idea behind this album, as well as the first track, “Hill Top”,  he has sent out into the world. It is a brilliant shining song and the trumpet addition (around 3:30) from Spencer Ludwig, of Capital Cities,  adds an additional sparkle that keeps the song fresh and hip. The EP, Story of Summer features guest appearances from Spencer Ludwig of Capital Cities, Drew Hester of Foo Fighters, Matt Mcjunkin of A Perfect Circle & Pusifer and Thurz of Red Bull Sound Select.

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Josh Stevens and Spencer Ludwig of Capital Cities writing at Studio City Sound, Ca 2015
Josh Stevens is usually working behind the scene as a successful songwriter, producer, and sound engineer. He has collaborated with Jennifer Lopez, LMFAO, Pitbull, Steve Aoki, Young, Jeezy and Ne-Yo, winning a multitude of awards. He began with hip hop, but has found his voice and modern sound in pop/indie- rock/dance. It is cool that with this song and this album he is upfront and center.
I am glad that he has come full circle and I highly anticipate his new album. For now, I think I’ll listen to “Hill Top” again and welcome the weekend. Have a good one y’all!

Charlie Belle-Get To Know

I have been listening to non-stop streams from SXSW in Austin, Texas.

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I bet you are wondering why I am not there. Yep, I am wondering too. I vow (pinkie swear and cross my heart) that next year will be my year of exploring the creativity and music of SXSW. I dream about it and live vicariously through amazing dj’s, bloggers, and music lovers who post, tweet, and generally help me feel as close to it as I can, when it is a harsh and expensive 945 miles away. Somehow, when you follow multiple streams, you get a well rounded beautiful picture…..I feel as close as I possibly can, even though I am so very far away from the experience.

Just to give you a sense of my commitment, I get press invitations and schedules of events and I follow them all. I know when my blogged bands are playing, and the bands that are on my  “ones to watch” list.  I am seriously done with the giant venues of big time bands. I love the intimate venues where you feel as if you stumbled haphazardly on music that sorts your soul and shifts your thinking. The ones where you can see without a wide screen and sing and dance along with all your new found band fans, if you should want to…..right? Do you feel that way?

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This is a band I wish I could see at SXSW this year, Charlie Belle. I love their sound and happy youthful take on love and life. The velvety vocals of the lead singer propel the music, but the twangy, catchy guitars and drums support in such a way that they are the glue that keeps this sound interesting, happy, and lovely. Young love can help to create some of the most happy, creative, jangly indie pop, and this is a case in point. I feel sure their talent will continue to grow and impress over time.

Serious joy over their tunes, all of them , but “Get To Know” helped seal the deal for me.  Love that bass guitar (@ 2:13) Happy Saturday!

Charlie Belle is out of Austin, Texas and is Jendayi (vocals, guitar), Gyasi (drums) & Lola (bass, vocals). Simple, sweet, and thoughtfully played music that somehow captures a moment in time that we all loved and hated. The internal struggle of being young and not knowing, and how to navigate the crazy compass of friendship and love. Does this feeling ever really change? Well, this band seems to live it and capture it in song, beautifully.

 

 

Bear’s Den-Her Tears, Agape

 

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“Her Tears” speaks for itself with an unexpected twist. You must take a thoughtful moment to listen.

If this song doesn’t make you melt….I deem you as the tin man with no heart and probably not missing it in the least.

Lovely.

https://soundcloud.com/thewildhoneypie/her-tears-buzzsession

Bear’s Den is from the UK, but they have taken the Americana folk sound to a creative new level of raw feelings, combined with layers of strings and vocals. They are Andrew Davie, Kev Jones & Joey Haynes. This trio makes doggone beautiful music! There are no words to express the depth of emotion in their thoughtful songs.

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In a novel I read recently, (Zafon’s, The Shadow of the Wind), there was a quote,

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”

I think that must be true of music as well? Perhaps, true connections to sounds and lyrics are just mirroring and bubbling up, meaningful and unforgettable personal experiences. The idea of this kind of heart-breaking love is pretty powerful, but the way Bear’s Den lyrically folds it and kneads it in a song….well, that simply blows me away.

And of course, one song by Bear’s Den isn’t enough.

Agape means love, brotherly love, or the love of God for man, or man for God. Interesting to really contemplate those definitions when you listen to this song, “Agape”, and observe their inability to stop time and their obvious demise.

Check them out on Facebook, like them, and maybe they’ll head back to the states soon.

 

Hospital-Right On

Yesterday, I was driving to a meeting with my sun roof open, minding my own business, when lo and behold, I was hit in the head with an large object! I thought it was a wayward branch that miraculously fell through my open roof. I was steady, held the wheel, and kept on driving. Whoa, completely perplexed and kind of weirded out, the first thought in my head was “the sky is falling”! Do you remember that classic story?

After waiting to get to a safe stopping point, I looked in my backseat to determine the strange culprit. I expected to see a giant branch. I searched and searched and began to seriously question my sanity.  I found nothing so I drove on to my meeting.

When I arrived at my destination, I found the head knocking criminal to be this…

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Yep, an acorn. The embarrassing part of the story is that I answered a friend’s phone call after it happened, and I shared the story before I knew the cause. This is the story of my life….making mountains out of little mole hills. Call me the queen of exaggeration. Go figure. So a simple instant, suddenly became an embarrassing blip in need of explanation to an entire group of friends at the meeting. Aggh!

I decided on the way home, after my meeting, to consider that maybe the universe was trying to shout something important into my head. What are the chances of an object falling in my sun roof and actually hitting me on the head? It has to be one in a million, right?

Right on.

Today’s song, “Right On”, is one of those exciting stories. A song that I want to shout out to everyone. The band is Hospital and they are from Moscow, Russia. You would never believe that they aren’t already playing the likes of SXSW, Coachella, Govenor’s Ball or even Atlanta’s Shakey Knees. I have blogged about their music before, and they seem to really be making their mark, by continuing to write and play their music in their distinct style of indie-rock-pop. They are Yegor Berdnikov on lead vocals, guitar, Aleksey Shorin on bass, Andrey Tsvetkov on guitar, and Vladimir Balovnev on drums.

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This song, “Right On” is their latest release, as of October 14th, from the EP, Satellite Flare. It is full of great music. I love that they have kept up with my little blog and sent me their current music. They rock! From their joyous thoughtful English lyrics to the shimmery strum of their guitars and popping drum beats, I find them to be all out catchy and vibrant. So, listen and love.

“Feeling like the wind blowing in my face

Isn’t it enough to feel that grace?

Isn’t it, Isn’t it, isn’t it good?

Isn’t it, Isn’t it, isn’t it good?

Right on! (3)

Autumn leaves are falling, to the ground

I can see them falling with no sound

Isn’t it, Isn’t it, isn’t it good?

Isn’t it, Isn’t it, isn’t it good?”

Okay, so I know you are thinking, she just said she exaggerates. Don ‘t take my word for it, this is the review on their first EP from indieshuffle.com….

 “Filled with wholesome and dreamy guitar lines and enchanting electronic atmospherics, Hospital has created an incredible piece of work here that could easily rival many of the Scandinavian and Brit pop bands around Europe”.
I wonder if they have a song or two in their native language? I would really enjoy listening to one and I bet some of my followers would too. A video of Hospital playing live, maybe?
Perhaps the giant acorn that dropped on my head was a way of telling me to make the world a smaller place. I think the heavens were whispering for me to find a way to bring new music from around the world and therefore, bridge gaps and divides, oceans and continents, one song at a time.
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The Notwist-Kong

Today is Easter. Yes, everyone, everywhere is proclaiming joy.

Alleluia!

Somehow Easter reminds me of many happy moments as a child. I fondly remember that pure time when I was in the comfort of my family, cozy and loved. Easter being one of those special times, because who can deny the beauty of loving family gatherings, a new dress for church, yummy chocolate bunnies, and when I was really lucky, a giant meal of all things mayonnaise based.

Thinking back on those special times, this video reminds me of another truly joyous time in my younger life, Saturday morning  and cartoons. I remember that feeling of waking up from the deepest slumber and happily realizing it happened to be… Saturday! Elation took over because that’s when I realized that I could do next to nothing, for a while, and watch cartoon after cartoon. The most exertion emitted would be to actually get up and pour more cereal (yep, the frosty, super sweet kind).

The song and video that I am featuring today is “Kong”. It takes me back in time.

The video is so very likable and an added bonus to a great song. This cartoon video reminds me of a moment in my youth that was all about superheros, simplistic chases from room to room, and happy rescues. Yes, a reminder of a time that was charming, beyond the beyond. To take me back to that is pretty special, but then to have a song that taps into the cool factor as well, may cause me to burst. The vocals of Markus Archer prove to carefully carry the light and poppy beat. “Kong” is a stand out on the album, based on its glowing, toe tapping nature, but it strikingly compliments the push and pull of the other songs.

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The Notwist is not a new indie rock band, although new to me. After listening to their latest album, Close To The Glass, their sound is experimental and new, for sure. They were formed in 1989 and are from Germany.  In their early years, they played mostly heavy metal and dark indie rock. They are now well known for their innovative, electronic influences. This album is a case in point. It reiterates their ability to push the music beyond the expected. After nine albums, that is an important decision and makes us all want to listen, garnishing newbies like myself.

Funny how a little video like “Kong” can remind me today of the deepest need to be loved, protected, and safe. On this special Holy holiday, I hope that you have a “Kong” to protect you from whatever frightens you, daunts you, or worries you, whether it be floods threatening to wash away your home or just simply life.

“cause, I believe in this”

Alleluia!

 

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Okay, I have crazy love for this band and their strange sound. It is so oddly weird and yet brilliantly fantastic. No, I haven’t lost my mind yet, I don’t think. Listen more than once, and I bet you will feel just as giddy. It is impossible for me not to yell, Woo-HA Woo-Ha!

Hey, by the way, it is almost Friday and I am ecstatic, despite the clouds forecasted to push this way and the threat of  an impending storm. It is gor-geee-ous right now. Maybe it will move through quickly. Oh well, Woo-Ha! anyway for the Friday countdown!

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photo credit-Anna M Campbell

Tune-yards is Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner, but also the current touring band includes saxophonists Matt Nelson and Noah Bernstein. They have a host of upcoming tours and are supporting Arcade Fire. I know I already have my ticket for Atlanta, on May 2 (just haven’t picked out my sparkly outfit yet). Check out all of the tour dates on their Facebook Page. I chuckled when I read that they want to be more than just musicians…they are inspired to be “activators, innovators, and revolutionary booty-shakers”.

What could be better than that on a Friday? Or a Saturday? Or a Sunday? Yes, I could go on, but I won’t.

Just listen for yourself. Be inspired to shake that booty of yours and yell,”Woo-Ha, Woo-Ha!”

Come on, smile.

 

 

Made Violent-Inside Out

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From the first, there is a smash of fast paced strumming and drumming. No slow build here, the song, “Inside Out” hits bold and strong right from the get-go. Made Violent started following me on twitter and so I checked out their newest video. At first listen, I connected with the power and the lyrics. They are really talented. Even though I adore them, I recognize that I have been  in a serious funk with sad, bittersweet love songs and honestly I needed to snap out of it. This song snaps me out of it for sure, thank you guys!

Made Violent isn’t violent at all, according to an interview with them from Groundsounds. Justin Acee on drums, Joe White on bass, and Rob Romano on guitar admit to being the furthest  thing from violent, but found the name funny. Personally, I think it might be genius, simply because I hear so many band names and this one is not easily forgotten. Isn’t that the goal? Get your name out there, make listeners curious, and then back it up with being a talented band. Rock  is alive and well and they do it proud!

“You called, and never heard an answer,

I called, and never heard a ring.

You see every single problem,

like its some monstrous thing.”

The band says that Inside Out is “a song about having a problem with someone you know and love but can’t just address the obvious issue at hand.” That kind of stuff does turn you inside out, right? Especially when you find you are out of words and the problem is still there. Talking ceases and the problem slowly builds in intensity. They call it the elephant in the room and I totally get it.

“Twist it around

does it make you proud

to wear me down

till I’m inside out.”

They will be playing with Bear Hands ( wouldn’t you know I love them too? click to listen) on Feb. 21st in Buffalo, NY at The Waiting Room. So if you’re nearby, give them a listen. If not, here is the video that made the sale. Rock hard and  write more, y’all need to release that EP.

Phospherescent

Don’t judge a band by the lead singer’s shoes. Well, okay in this case, maybe you should. (Must see picture attached)

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Matthew Houck stepped out among the vases of flowers and the lingering incense to sing and play onstage in Atlanta, GA.  It was incredible. All the hype is real and he proved it, as he and his band, Phospherescent, slowly but carefully, worked their way into our psyches. With each song, the audience seemed to sink deeper into the vibe and that’s when I completely forgot I was standing in the middle of hundreds of people at a Phospherescent sold out show. My emotions got the better of me as a tear puddled in the corner of my eye on “My Dove, My Lamb”.  The lyrics and the wail of his voice that escaped from his lips so tenderly, proved to create a perfect moment in time. Perfect, simply because I don’t think it renders itself to the typical adjectives of hearing a sound that might be somewhat familiar. Is it country, folk, rock? This is unfamiliar territory to me and that is what makes me listen. I will listen again and again.

Yes, he had on a serious ‘old Nashville’ style outfit…..but it was the flashy, sparkly boots that told it all. This guy is surely bold and fierce in his choices for tapping his feet as well as writing, playing, and singing those powerful lyrics. Powerful indeed.

An old one but a great one. ‘Cause I bet you’ve already been playing his winning album, Muchacho.

Then, there is this, a cover of Bob Dylan. Love, devotion, and longing….

https://soundcloud.com/fantasylabelgroup/tomorrow-is-a-long-time

Hospital-Lust For You

*see my addition at the end.*

“…..It’s a small world after all, It’s a small world after all…..”

Good ol’ Disney songs tell it like it is.  But before you get this Disney tune stuck in your head, check out the band, Hospital.

I find it crazy amazing that a Russian band can find an obscure American indie music blog and send their music. I just had to open up the soundcloud page and listen out of curiosity. As I listened to their tune, I found myself totally intrigued. The band, Hospital, is originally from a remote town in eastern Russia. Thank goodness for Google search. I don’t even think my keyboard can type the Russian letters properly, but this is what the name of the city is, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia (picture below).

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Who knew that indie music could be so tuned in and familiar from such a foreign and unfamiliar place?

I believe music really can erase thousands of miles and break down barriers and differences.

The band, Hospital, is now located in Moscow. Even before they moved further west, the west seemed to put a bit of inspiration and influence in their music.  The song “Lust For You” is clearly a case in point. They describe their music as shoe-gaze, post punk, brit-pop. I think you will be amazed at how terrific it is. There is a familiarity with their sound, while at the same time maintaining that which makes the band unique. Well done! This song makes me feel connected to a band and a place I will most likely never see or experience, and that is thrilling! They are on Facebook and bandcamp, go on the virtual global tour and click this to check them out. Listen and enjoy.

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Listen again and enjoy this clever you tube video. The ending is a crazy surprise…..just watch.

                                                                                                                                            

*As I wrote this, I wondered about the band’s name, Hospital, and how the band came up with it. I just had to share the answer I just received. I thought you might want to know.*

“Well it was really hard time for me and our bass player when our first band split up. it was in 2011 right after we released the band’s first album. so we did not play together for a few months. I was sitting at home listening to Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon on repeat and thought about what else i could do with my music, my songs or maybe it’s time to get a good job and all these things – domestic bliss. and then one day I just walked with my ipod and listened to the song “Belong” by The Pain Of Being Pure At Heart and there was this part:

 in hospitals
in shopping malls
with heavy heads
and locker walls
And I thought about the word Hospital and came to the conclusion that it would be perfect name for a band and then I was like “It should be my band!” So Here’s a story in our vision Hospital is the place where we use music as drugs as medicine for people with sick soul.”
Cool.

The Orwells-Who Needs You

 


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8/29/2018

Dear Readers,

I have to make a special note on this post because of the most recent news about certain members of The Orwells being accused of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. I want you all to know that I don’t condone this behavior and find it sadly vile. Just in the past few hours The Orwells have disbanded, despite their vehement denial of the many allegations. When I saw them perform many years ago, I witnessed reckless abandon, but I never saw any of the actions that they have been accused of. It is a shame if these accusations are true and it is also somewhat of a triumph that in today’s world this conduct is considered tragic, appalling and completely unacceptable. I hope that future generations will take note and make any important behavior changes necessary. Continue reading if you must, but know this was post written long ago. 

I have to revisit a post that I wrote last May. Sadly, I never clicked the enter button.  Today, I have the spunk to click enter, because this recent video clip reminds me of my thinking last May. There is a wild craziness and appeal that is, The Orwells.

Here goes…..

I’m convinced that feeling rebellious can happen to anyone at anytime. In my teen years, I sketchily dabbled in hanging out with those fools who didn’t seem to care what anybody thought. It was an action-packed time of study and observation, until quite suddenly, I was in trouble by sheer association. There is something so exciting about the out of bounds edginess of a disobedient group. I have since discovered the “jacket” of edginess doesn’t quite fit me, even though I seem to try it on from time to time. Music has always been a safer gateway to this world of free expression, innovation, and even the somewhat radical. I tend to pick music that suits my mood and every once in a while I relish that feeling of being a teensy bit rebellious.

That is when I stumbled upon The Orwells at The Shaky Knees music festival. The Orwells are recent high school grads from Illinois that were suddenly thrown from garage rock suburbia to the limelight by a few music bloggers last year.  I can’t really explain what attracts me to their sound except that it reminds me of the times in my life when I just want to scream lyrics, jump to a steady beat, and forget the outside world.

That feeling described me perfectly as I positioned myself on the front row of The Orwells’ set. I didn’t recognize many people around me, but made friends quickly, as we all popped our heads to the punk/surfer vibe in a terrible downpour, and stomped our feet in the thick oozing mud of the wettest outdoor festival in Atlanta history. After a certain point of saturation, the rain just didn’t seem to matter any more. The music was intoxicating and The Orwells were so fascinating to watch as they performed, “Mallrats (La La La)”.

The band members, Dominic Corso, Matt O’Keefe, Grant Brinner, and Henry Brinner have boy next-door faces, but they banged out great tunes with an explosive vibe. The curly, blonde lead singer, Mario Cuomo, twisted and jerked spastically on beat, to his own loud, unnerving lyrics. That’s when he spontaneously fell into the crowd and everyone went literally hog wild, mud sliding, mud slinging, and serious mud moshing. I was in rebel heaven, if only by observation, because I weakly admit that I feared for my life and limbs. The adrenaline rush and musical experience was unforgettable.

You have to listen to “Mallrats” so you can imagine the craziness from their full-length EP, Remember When. As I listen to them again, I sadly remember the poor guy who lost his keys in the midst of the mud mayhem. I am sure, like me, he had a blast, losing the outside world, if only for a brief moment. I urge you to listen to their beat and escape from the mundane, if only for a little while.

Okay back to today….

Their debut appearance on Late Night with David Letterman is what made me revisit this old post that was never published. When you watch, you will see what I mean about their wild, rebellious nature. Be sure to follow the video to the end so that you can see the reaction from David Letterman and Paul Shaffer. In my book, they had a “lose your head” love response. Don’t judge me, surely you will get a kick out of it too. To me, that kind of angst performance never grows old, infinitely better than Miley’s twerking. It made me smile, jump and yell! (okay, just a bit)

Also, listen to “Mall Rat (La La La)” for which I wrote the first post. Go ahead you know you want to listen.

Stay tuned and click on their Facebook page, new music coming soon that you won’t want to miss.